Israel vows ‘offensive and defensive action’ as president brands Iran’s 350 missile airstrike a ‘declaration of war’

ISRAEL has vowed to take “offensive and defence action” in retaliation to Iran’s unprecedented 350-missile airstrike.

Global tensions have reached boiling point after Israeli president Isaac Herzog branded the attack on their soil a “declaration of war”.

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Iranian lawmakers chant slogans at an open session of the parliament in Tehran as Iran launches dozens of drones at IsraelCredit: Eyevine
The moment Iran began its 300-missile attack on Israel was revealed by state television

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The moment Iran began its 300-missile attack on Israel was revealed by state television
Explosions are seen in the skies above Jerusalem on Saturday night

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Explosions are seen in the skies above Jerusalem on Saturday nightCredit: Reuters
A drone is launched in an undisclosed area in Iran as Iran launches dozens of drones at Israel

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A drone is launched in an undisclosed area in Iran as Iran launches dozens of drones at IsraelCredit: Rex
U.S President Joe Biden meets with his national security team for an update on Iran's attacks against Israel on Sunday

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U.S President Joe Biden meets with his national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel on SundayCredit: Avalon.red
Rishi Sunak was briefed by staff before holding a call with leaders from the G7 nations

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Rishi Sunak was briefed by staff before holding a call with leaders from the G7 nationsCredit: Luca Boffa / No 10 Downing Street

Booming explosions were heard in the skies above Jerusalem late last night, as the chilling wail of air sirens rang out and terrified residents ran to find cover.

More than 300 drones and missiles were launched at Israel by Iran and its proxy groups in Lebanon and Yemen – 99 per cent of which were intercepted, according to the Israeli military.

Israeli military scrambled dozens of fighter jets to intercept “all aerial threats” after Iran fired 185 drones, 36 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles at the country.

Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, said the attack is being viewed as a “declaration of war” and world leaders need to “make it clear” to Iran that its behaviour is “unacceptable”.

He told Sky News: “We were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles and ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles.

“This is like a real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war.”

Iran launched the attack over a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran’s regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said in a televised statement on Sunday: “We are still on high alert and assessing the situation.

“Over the last few hours, we approved operational plans for both offensive and defensive action.”

A UN Security Council session has been called, at Israel’s request, and it is now underway in New York.

The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, opened the session by saying: “The Middle East is on the brink.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating, full-scale conflict.

“Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate. Now is the time for maximum restraint.”

World leaders are holding urgent talks today amid fears of a further escalation in the conflict if Israel does strike back against Tehran.

Leaders of G7 – a forum of heads of state and government – met earlier today and released a statement expressing “full solidarity and support” to Israel.

The leaders said they “unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms” Iran’s attack where “hundreds of drones and missiles” were fired against Israel.

The statement added: “With its actions, Iran has further stepped toward the destabilization of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation.

“This must be avoided. We will continue to work to stabilize the situation and avoid further escalation.”

The leaders of G7 also demanded Iran and its proxies stop their attacks and said they are “ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilizing initiatives.”

They said they would strengthen their cooperation to end the conflict in Gaza and would continue to work towards an immediate ceasefire and and the release of hostages by Hamas.

Britain’s RAF helped down “a number” of attack drones over the Iraq-Syrian border, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed on Sunday.

Mr Sunak said the barrage of missiles and attack drones was “a dangerous and unnecessary escalation” in the Middle Eastern conflict.

According to a Foreign Office spokesperson Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron, has summoned the charge d’affaires of the Iranian embassy to the department following Tehran’s “profoundly dangerous” attack on Israel.

The spokesperson said that the UK condemns the attack “in the strongest terms as well as their violation of Jordan and Iraq’s airspace.”

They added: “At a time of great tension in the Middle East, this was a profoundly dangerous and unnecessary escalation by Iran.

“The UK calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the civilian ship MSC Aries and its crew, which was seized by Iranian armed forces yesterday in international waters.

“The Iranian authorities must take meaningful and immediate action to de-escalate and halt its reckless and unlawful behaviour.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and the security of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.

“We will also continue to work with our international partners to protect and uphold stability in the region.”

PM Rishi Sunak confirms RAF planes shot down Iranian attack drones targeting Israel

Several ballistic missiles did reach Israeli territory, wounding a girl and causing minor damage to a military base in the south.

The attack was Iran‘s first full-scale military assault against Israel and came after a suspected Israeli strike on its Syrian consulate in Damascus killed seven of Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guard officers on April 1.

Iran said any “reckless” retaliation to last night’s unprecedented aerial attack would be met with a “much stronger response”.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi raged: “If the Zionist regime [Israel] or its supporters demonstrate reckless behaviour, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response”.

It is not yet clear how Israel will respond to Tehran’s volley of kamikaze drones and missiles.

But there are fears the escalating tensions between the feuding countries will plunge the Middle East into an all-out war with the UK and US drawn further into the conflict.

Israel’s war cabinet is meeting today for crunch talks, weighing the country’s response and discussing whether to “break all dishes” in its response to Iran, according to officials.

Despite thwarting Iran’s attack with the help of its allies, Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant said the nation “must be prepared for every scenario”.

Some members of the three-man cabinet had proposed an immediate retaliatory strike against Tehran.

But the rash move was called off due to growing pressure from US President Mr Biden, reports the New York Times.

I WAS IN JERUSALEM HOTEL WHEN IRAN LAUNCHED ITS ATTACK

By David Ross, Head of Video for The Sun, in Jerusalem

THE ALERTS came through on our phones after we arrived back at the hotel in central Jerusalem.

Like many others, we headed to our room knowing that Iran had just launched hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles in our direction.

Then, at 2am, we heard two enormous booms, followed soon after by emergency sirens.

Every Israeli knows the drill but for my wife Jess and I, it was the first time we’d experienced anything like it.

They call it terror for a reason: because it is terrifying. There’s a bizarre adrenaline rush too.

You don’t have time to think and you act on instinct.

It’s about grabbing any clothing you can and dressing as you quickly move to the safety of a shelter.

We headed below ground to Level -4 and remained there as the sirens continued to blare all around us.

After what felt like a lifetime – but was probably only 20 minutes – we were given the all-clear to return to our rooms.

Our hearts were racing as the footage of what was happening overhead exploded over X and the TV news channels.

We huddled together, glued to the latest developments.

By the time it was all over, the Israel Defence Forces managed to intercept 99% of the drones and surface-to-surface missiles.

A combination of the Arrow Aerial Defence System, the Iron Dome, Israeli aircraft and warplanes from the UK and US had saved countless lives – ours included.

Mr Biden has told Mr Netanyahu that the US will not participate in any offensive operations.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most powerful branch of its armed forces, said it launched last night’s attack “in retaliation against the Zionist regime’s [Israel] repeated crimes, including the attack on the Iranian embassy’s consulate in Damascus”.

The Iranian mission told the UN after the strikes that “the matter can be deemed concluded”.

Yemen’s feared Houthi rebels said today that Iran’s attack on Israel was a “legitimate” response to the suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Israel is well-protected by its Iron Dome air defence system, regarded as one of the most effective in the world, which uses radars to detect and intercept short-range rockets, missiles, and drones.

Tensions between Iran and Israel could quickly turn nuclear and spark World War Three, according to a disturbing war simulation crafted by military and security experts.

The chilling step-by-step potential scenario begins with Iran and its terror proxies using powerful long-range, high-precision rockets to hit key Israeli targets.

If the conflict unfolds according to the outline, Israel will hit back and fight off Iranian proxies near its border while striking Iran by air.

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Tel Aviv will then appeal to the US for intervention, to no avail, and find itself isolated in its fight against Iran.

It will then try – and fail – to make Iran surrender with a non-lethal nuclear detonation, before launching 50 nuclear weapons at Iran.

Iran will subsequently unleash its own nuclear ambush against an air base with US troops.

The disturbing war game simulation ends with a major conflict involving Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen – although experts say the West will also likely become embroiled in a nuclear stalemate between Israel and Iran.

Mr Sunak said on Sunday that the world needs “calm heads to prevail”, insisting that the UK would work with its allies to “de-escalate the situation”.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also called for restraint after Iran’s overnight attack brought the Middle East to the “edge of a precipice”.

She said Tehran had “plunged an entire region into chaos” and that the spiralling tensions needed to end.

Asked whether he agreed with Western leaders calling for calm, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said: “The last thing that Israel is seeking in this region since its creation is to go to war – we are seeking peace.”

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Israel's anti-missile system is employed after Iran's attack

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Israel’s anti-missile system is employed after Iran’s attackCredit: Reuters
The world is on tenterhooks waiting to see how Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will respond to Iran's attack

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The world is on tenterhooks waiting to see how Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will respond to Iran’s attackCredit: Alamy
Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle is pictured at an air base after an interception mission of an Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel

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Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle is pictured at an air base after an interception mission of an Iranian drone and missile attack on IsraelCredit: Reuters
Footage taken from an RAF Typhoon PoOD shows a targeted strike against two Houthi military targets in Yemen

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Footage taken from an RAF Typhoon PoOD shows a targeted strike against two Houthi military targets in Yemen
A RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off to conduct air strikes against military targets in Yemen

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A RAF Typhoon aircraft takes off to conduct air strikes against military targets in YemenCredit: Reuters
Rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza City are intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome defence missile system in October

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Rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza City are intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome defence missile system in OctoberCredit: AFP

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What is Israel’s Iron Dome & how does it work?

ISRAEL’S air defence system is one of the best in the world having successfully intercepted thousands of rockets.

The mobile all-weather Iron Dome is at the forefront of that and was central to fending off Iran’s recent missile and drone attack.

Here’s the lowdown on the high tech system.

What is Israel’s Iron Dome?

Iron Dome is a counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) short range air defence system.

It is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 2–43 miles away.

It intercepts rockets that are travelling in the direction of urban areas and brings them down – the first system of its kind in the world.

Israel hopes to increase the range of the dome’s interceptions to 250km and make it able to stop rockets coming from two directions.

Developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, it can be operated in all weather conditions including fog, dust storm, low clouds and rain.

From 2011 to 2021, the United States contributed a total of $1.6billion to the Iron Dome defence system, befor another US$1billion was approved by the US Congress in 2022.

How does it work?

The dome is made up of missile batteries which are shaped like giant match boxes and are tilted in the direction of Gaza.

The Iron Dome monitor detects a target using radar and monitors its trajectory.

A control centre then calculates an interception point and then commands a rocket to launch if the foreign missile is heading towards an urban area.

Once in contact with the missile, the rocket explodes and brings it down.

Each launcher contains 20 Tamir Missiles with proximity warheads and there are several batteries positioned around the country.

Since being implemented in 2011 the computer systems have been updated, improved and upgrades to improve the accuracy of the rockets.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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